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“If you don’t ask …”

Posted by Big John on January 15, 2012

When it comes to insurance company employees, I always feel that they seem to put great effort into two aspects of their work. One is to sell you a policy and the other is to avoid paying out when you make a claim, which always makes me reluctant to talk to them.

Now until recently I had a policy covering household emergencies, such as blocked drains, electrical faults, plumbing problems etc. which the insurance company advised me was due to expire. They also asked me if I wanted to renew my policy on the same terms as before. 

Before agreeing I thought it would be a good idea to ‘shop around’ on the web. I included my existing insurer in my search, only to find that they were offering the same deal as they were offering me to new customers, but at a much cheaper price. In fact it was about 20% less than the price I was paying.

When I ‘phoned their customer relations department I was told that I could not renew my policy at this lower price as I was an existing customer and therefore did not qualify for this special ‘on-line’ deal which they were making to attract new customers.

“OK” .. I asked .. “what if I cancel my policy which is about to expire, and apply as a new customer for the special deal ?”

“I’ll ask my manager” .. replied the polite lady at the other end of the line. I expected her enquiry to result in a load of old cobblers about breaking insurance industry rules etc. So after a couple of minutes I was amazed to hear .. “That’s fine, just apply on-line and we will treat you as a new customer and cancel your old policy”.

A small victory I know, but one which … 

… quite made my day !   :-)

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5 Responses to ““If you don’t ask …””

  1. Rummuser said

    But, and it is a big but, this is unethical. If the new comers are given a new price which is lower, by charging the existing customer a higher price, the company is penalising loyalty! I would fight for a retrospective refund on earlier premiums.

  2. I have always been upset with these “new customer” special prices. I have been going to the same dentist for thirty years and lately he has been advertising “free x-rays” for new patients. This has really been a turn off for me since there is absolutely no reward or even thank you for loyality. Think I will take this one on next time I am there.

  3. Grannymar said

    Worth the phone call… I’d do as Rummy says, the money is better in your pocket.

  4. Betty said

    In the U.S. the cable companies and phone companies always play that game. It’s just too much trouble to cancel and then re-apply. So, we just change companies, like playing musical chairs. So silly.

  5. I suppose companies feel they need to do this to attract new customers even though, as the first commentator says, it punishes customer loyalty. That, however, doesn’t seem to count for much these days.

    We use a certain well known firewall and antivirus on our computers. When this last came up for renewal I did an online search and discovered that the company was making a special offer to new customers. If I logged onto my existing account, I could not even access the offer page but could do so if I visited the site having deleted cookies, i.e. as a “new customer”.

    The solution was obvious: as I have a number of email addresses, I opened a new account with a different one. As a “new customer”, I was able to get a firewall and antivirus for three machines for two years for about the same price that I would have paid for one machine for one year as an existing customer.

    I feel no moral compunction about doing this because if companies are going to play fast and loose with prices then they must expect customers to play the same game.

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